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'We are all human': Johann van Graan moves on from sin-bin controversy

Harlequins v Bath – Gallagher Premiership – Twickenham Stoop

Johann van Graan says Bath will move on after the sin-bin controversy that overshadowed their Gallagher Premiership clash at Harlequins.


The Rugby Football Union upheld the hosts’ thrilling 40-36 win, despite apologising for an officiating error that saw Quins lock Irne Herbst return to the field early after a yellow card.

Herbst was sent to the sin bin in the 63rd minute, but he came back on after only seven minutes, rather than the regulation 10.

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With Bath in the midst of a rousing comeback, which saw them score 33 unanswered points, the South African made at least one important tackle during the time he should have been out of action.

But after assessing the issue, the RFU’s professional game match officials team declined to take any further action over the mistake.

Points Flow Chart

Harlequins win +4
Time in lead
Mins in lead
% Of Game In Lead
Possession Last 10 min
Points Last 10 min

“In terms of the process, I followed the protocol post the game and spoke to the referee on the day and the referees’ manager (Paul Hull) over the course of the last three days and now we move on,” Bath head of rugby Van Graan said.

“In terms of the process, I trust the process and I followed the process that is available to any head of rugby.


“I flagged it with the fourth official through our (team) manager. I am respectful of the process that I followed that was available to me.

“Once a decision is made in sport, you live with the decision. Life is not perfect and I have got huge respect for referees.

“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing and that is the right outcome.

“The only thing I can do is trust that we all respect the game and live the values of the game and I believe that is what we – as a club – did over the weekend.

“I have been involved in many sporting events where it is small margins. My job is to make sure I look after my team and this playing group and I followed the process to the letter of the law.


“Rugby is an incredibly unique game and it is a hugely emotional game. This was a very unique incident – I have been involved in professional rugby for 23 years and this is the first time I have come across it.

“Things happen very quickly and then you have also got to take into consideration that we are all human.

“There was human error involved, the RFU made a statement and irrespective of what everyone’s opinion is, they are the facts of the matter.

“We respect the process and there is an outcome to it and we have got to move on.”



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